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Rep. Waters seeks ethics panel probe

Dec. 7, 2010 at 1:04 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., under investigation on possible ethics violations, is calling for a House probe into the suspension of two ethics panel lawyers.

In a privileged resolution accusing the committee of denying her due process by delaying her trial and conducting business in a manner that invites "public ridicule" and "contempt for the ethics process," Waters will ask the House to vote on creating a bipartisan task force to examine the decision to place Morgan Kim and Stacy Sovereign on indefinite administrative leave, Politico reported Tuesday.

Once introduced, the House has two days to consider the resolution.

The resolution is the latest shot fired by Waters at the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct as she defends herself against the charges she violated ethics rules, The Hill said.

A draft of the resolution indicates it also would make recommendations "to restore public confidence in the ethics process, including disciplining both staff and members where needed."

If the resolution passes, the task force would report its findings and recommendations to the House next year.

Ethics committee staff director Blake Chisam tried to fire Sovereign and Kim on Nov. 19, but committee rules preclude unilateral dismissal of nonpartisan aides, so they were suspended. The committee then postponed Waters' trial, originally scheduled for Nov. 29, citing new information that could impact the allegations against her.

Waters and her chief of staff and grandson, Mikael Moore, allegedly violated house rules when they allegedly took action to help an association of minority-owned banks, including a financial institution in which her husband held $350,000 in stock, during the financial crisis in late 2008.

Waters and Moore deny the charges.

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